Arsenal Man of the Match: Per Mertesacker

All day long.

This is a pretty simple decision, really. The BFG continued his great start to the season in all competitions and stopped the vaunted City attack. His vision, which is already exemplary, helped keep our defensive back four's shape effective against their enterprising forwards, but it was his ability to be in the right place at the right time whenever City attempted to attack both in the air and on the ground that left Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli silent. All match long, Per made excellent decision after excellent decision - both with and without the ball at his feet - and helped keep Arsenal within striking distance. There's really not much else to say that hasn't been said about Mertesacker's match today and, for that alone, Per Mertesacker is our Man of the Match.

Of course, Carl Jenkinson wore his big boy pants and continually frustrated Scott Sinclair early and often to the point that Sinclair found himself attacking from the right side to get away from Jenkinson (and eventually subbed; credit to Carl for essentially taking him out of the match), and one could also make a case for Laurent Koscielny and his wonder strike. And, last, while he doesn't earn MOTM honors since it's incredibly difficult to side against the main man who stopped City's attack, there needs to be a mention for the match Aaron Ramsey had today. Whether by his own intelligence and familiarity of the players surrounding him, or by Arsene Wenger's tactics for today's match, Ramsey continually brought the attack to City's defense while making crisp, weighted passes that often set up the recipient in a great position to work from. Additionally, Ramsey was aggressive in close quarters, making smart tackles and being the kick-start to Arsenal's counter-attacks.

All of this is to say: sometimes we need to keep things in perspective. I read a lot of your comments this summer regarding Ramsey and there were quite a few who wanted him gone. They felt he wasn't worthy enough, that he was another youth talent in too far over his head. What people didn't realize, or forgot to consider, was that he was playing in his first season back after one of the more gruesome injuries we've seen sans Eduardo. Oh, and he was 20/21 years old. That's not to excuse the fact that he had a poor run of matches late last season, but that alone - that small of sample size - was not, and is not, indicative of the talent he brings to our squad. As we keep this in mind, and hope Aaron continues his growth in the sport, let's try and maintain a certain level of expectations with Jack Wilshere, who hasn't played in a competitive match in nearly 18 months. If Wilshere comes back and isn't the type of dominating player we once saw, it'd be highly-unfair to him and others in the future if we start screaming for his departure. So, yeah, I had to get that off my chest.

This was a great result, and let's continue to hope our squad gets stronger and more cohesive as the season progresses. Ladies, gentlemen, grab your drink and raise it high for Per Mertesacker.

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